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Research: Sawmill Database

Alpha-Numeric Key: UP-160
Corporate Name: Commercial Lumber Company
Local Name:
Owner Name: Commercial Lumber Company. A. L. Clark, president; John A. Bonner, general manager.
Location: Gilmer: Titus and Walker streets
County: Upshur
Years in Operation: 16 years
Start Year: 1892
End Year: 1907
Decades: 1890-1899,1900-1909
Period of Operation: About 1892 to 1907
Town: Gilmer
Company Town: 1
Peak Town Size: 1,758 in 1905
Mill Pond:
Type of Mill: Lumber and shingles
Sawmill Pine Sawmill Hardwood Sawmill Cypress Sawmill
Planer Planer Only Shingle Paper
Plywood Cotton Grist Unknown
Power Source: Steam
Horse Mule Oxen Water
Water Overshot Water Turbine Diesel Unknown
Pit Steam Steam Circular Steam Band
Gas Electricity Other
Maximum Capacity: 50000: 1900
Capacity Comments: Estimated 50,000 feet daily
Rough Lumber Planed Lumber Crossties Timbers
Lathe Ceiling Unknown Beading
Flooring Paper Plywood Particle Board
Treated Other
Equipment: Sawmill and shingle mill
Company Tram:
Associated Railroads: St Louis Southwestern (Cotton Belt); Texas Southern (Marshall & East Texas)
Historicial Development: This sawmill company was established before 1892 and was engaged it building tram lines to its various county mills. The Texas Southern bought up the tram lines of Commercial and operated rail traffic in Upshur and Harrison counties. This lumber operation was listed as a sawmill in the Reference Book of the Lumbermen's Credit Association, January 1905 and for 1907. In 1907, a fire wiped out the mill. Clark et al. closed operations and moved to Arkansas, where they operated the A. L. Clark Lumber Company. Many of the mill hands, white and black, moved with Clark to Glenwood, Arkansas. This was the first time in the area that African-Americans had lived amongst the whites. Racial antagonism was so bad that company guards kept watch at night while the black mill hands and their families slept in the commissary at night for protection. Its logging tram extended from Gilmer for sixteen miles to Ashland. It was bought by the Texas Southern Railway Company in 1892. Doyal Loyd noted in his work that the large Gilmer mill contracted at least ten smaller mills in the county to keep it supplied with rough lumber.
Research Date: MCJ 05-03-96
Prepared By: M. Johnson